Need Check Printing software.
December 5, 2011 9:22 AM   Subscribe

I need software which can print the full check onto blank check stock.

Okay MeFi brain trust, I'm coming up with very few answers on this using my Google-Fu.... Someone out there has to be doing this already.

I already have a larger HP Laserjet with MICR toner and check stock. What I don't have is a program that can do the rest. My first run of checks is ~2,000 checks, with the data coming from an Excel spreadsheet. In the future, we'd like to also use Quickbooks as a data source.

We previously were using a different company's system to do our check printing, but they were atrociously expensive -- enough that I could hire 1-2 full-time employees and have them print checks 1-2 days a month and they'd still be less expensive. Even having the employees playing around on Facebook 80% of the time would be less expensive.

Some of our banks offer such a service, but not all of our bank accounts are at the same bank, nor can they be for various reasons, so that's out of the question.

I've looked at VersaChecks, but they're too amateurish, particularly with their bogus account verification crap (and tacky imprint all over the checks), hidden high per-check printing fees. Oh, and the fact that their customer service is pathetic. I tried calling them multiple times. When I'd call I'd get music. No greeting, no menu, just music. So I waited...and waited....20 minutes later I get the phone tree "Press 1 for sales, etc.". Pressed 1... waited another 40 minutes before someone answered and was borderline rude and certainly not helpful. No sale.
posted by OTA to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
I've been using Check Printing Software 2000 with blank stock for a good 10 years now. It's freeware, easy to use, very minimal and it works. It's windows only, but works just fine under Wine under OSX or *nix.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 9:35 AM on December 5, 2011

Have you installed QuickBooks yet? Because you can easily print checks directly from QuickBooks. More info on printing checks from QuickBooks here.
posted by eschatfische at 10:37 AM on December 5, 2011

Good comments so far.
Cat Pie Hurts: Have you managed to get that program to write out the value of the check, ie: "One-Thousand Five-Hundred Fifty-Eight Dollars"? It looks promising for the .CSV/Excel batches I'd have to do. Not sure it'll work for the Quickbooks tasks, but I'm not opposed to using a separate program for that.

eschatfische: Quickbooks "print checks" but not to blank check stock. I believe we have >140 bank accounts for the various projects that we kick around in this little 12 person office. We've previously ordered pre-printed check stock which is expensive, a possible security issue, and just a general hassle. If we could get a program to print the whole thing, then we could just buy a single blank check stock and let the program take care of all of the details.
posted by OTA at 12:51 PM on December 5, 2011

I looked into this a few weeks ago when I came into possession of a pack of blank "security paper" check stock. It looked like a gouger's delight: you (allegedly) need magic magnetic ink (which is, of course, much more expensive than regular ink [which is, itself, one of the most expensive substances on the planet]). Then, you need the special MICR font, which is also much more expensive than any other font, and (naturally) custom software to print the MICR characters in the right place.

I grabbed a freeware MICR font and drafted up an Inkscape check blank, with the stuff that a check printing company usually puts on "blank" checks. Then I ran them through QuickBooks to print the amount, payee, and so forth. I've only issued a couple of them so far, but none have bounced, even though I used plain old laser-printer toner to print the account number and other MICR data.

If you can get blank check stock cheaply and you have to write a lot of checks, this might be a good way to go, but for the number of checks I have to write, it's way more hassle than it's worth.
posted by spacewrench at 1:37 PM on December 5, 2011

spacewrench: The goal here is to get it all in one pass. Trying to keep track of >100 different accounts' worth of different check stock is less than ideal. And with the large check distributions, printing 1,000-2,000 checks in-house makes sense.

For reference, our bank wants $250/month PLUS a $2,500 setup fee PLUS a per-check fee that's almost $2/check. I already have the equipment (50 page per minute HP Laser + MICR toner cartridge + blank check stock) , just need some software to do the work.
posted by OTA at 11:07 AM on December 6, 2011

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